Dungeons & Dragons games are filled with deep, philosophical, and thought-provoking questions. How: exactly how oftencanI lit those goblins with mineHell of a rebukespell during this encounter? To answer such burning questions, you need to understand spell slots in D&D 5e.
Read on to learn what you need to know about Spell Slots in D&D 5e: rules, usage, FAQs, and some not-so-frequent questions!
What are magic slots?
Spell slots are the number of times a mage can cast spells before needing to rest and recover.
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The more experienced a caster is (AKA the higher their level), the more stamina they need to have to work those elemental powers. Spell slots are how magical experience is represented in D&D. The more magic slots, the more experienced the magician.
The world of Dungeons & Dragons is one where magic vibrates just beneath the surface of reality, waiting to be summoned... and it takes a great deal of energy to manipulate and channel all that raw power!
How do spell slots work in 5E?
The basic rules for spell slots and casting spells are:
- Spells have different levels
- To cast a spell, use a spell slot of the same level (or higher)
- Some spells have stronger versions that can be cast at higher levels and use a higher level spell slot
- You have a set number of spell slots per caster level, based on your character's level
- You recover all spell slots after a long pause (unless otherwise noted)
- Some classes must "prepare" spells in advance.
The Players Handbook has an excellent example of how to use magic slots.
When a character casts a spell, he or she consumes a slot of that spell's level or higher, effectively "filling" a slot with the spell. You can think of a spell slot as a groove of a certain size - small for a 1st level slot, larger for a higher level spell. A 1st-level spell fits in any slot size, but a 9th-level spell only fits in a 9th-level slot.Page 201, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, 5th Edition.
A class whose spell slotsNotWorking this way is the warlock. We'll look at the differences in Warlock spells in more detail over time.
How do you prepare spells?
Clerics, druids, paladins, and casters must prepare spells before they can use them.
To prepare spells, during a long pause, select the spells you want to use from your spell list. Then your character has to spend time studying the spells to prepare them. It is the same time to prepare spells for all prepared caster classes.
...at least one minute per caster level for each spell on your list.Pages 58, 66, 84, 114 Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook 5th Edition.
How many spells can you prepare?
You may know a huge list of spells, but you can only prepare a selection of them for use.
The number of spells you can prepare = your level +Spell Skill Modifier
The spells you prepare must be of a level that you have spell slots for. Otherwise you can't cast them!
You can keep track of which spells you have prepared by filling in the small "Prepared" dot next to each spell on the Spells page of your character sheet.
How do you change your prepared spells?
You can change your prepared spell list when you've finished a long pause.
Spell slots by class
Each caster class has a slightly different relationship to magic, so the number of spell slots also differs. In your class description is a table that tells you how many spell slots of each level you have per character level.
Below we look at each class to see if their use of spell slots deviates from the norm and show you their spell slot charts.
Bards follow the usual rules for spell slots. They are considered "spontaneous casters" and do not need to prepare their spells. Dead easy!
Here is the bard table of spell slots:
The Cleric class uses spell slots as usual without any special consideration. However, they must prepare spells before casting. A cleric can prepare a number of spells equal to his wisdom modifier + cleric level.
Here is the Cleric Spell Slot table:
Druid spell slots work the same as most classes except hersNatural recreationFeature. Details will follow later. They must also prepare their spells daily before casting, and can prepare a number of spells equal to Wisdom modifier + druid level.
Here is the druid table of spell slots:
Fighter (Eldritch Knight)
Eldritch Knights are fighters who have received some arcane training and their spell slots function normally. And because they know relatively fewer spells than other wizards, they don't have to prepare them before casting.
Here is the Eldritch Knight spell slot table:
Monk (Way of the Four Elements)
The Way of the Four Elements Monk can cast a very limited number of spells, howeverdoesn't actually use spell slots at all.
Instead, they use their ki points to use abilities that allow them to cast a spell like this:
Bale of the North Wind (requires 6th level)
You can spend 3 ki points to casthold person.Page 81, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, 5th Edition.
A paladin, like most classes, uses spell slots with no particular fuss. They must prepare their spells, however, and can prepare a number of spells equal to their Charisma modifier + half the paladin level, rounded down.
Here is the Paladin spell slot table:
Ranger spell slots work in the usual way, with no special recovery options. Rangers are well aware of their slightly smaller spell list and don't need to prepare their spells in advance.
Here is the ranger chart of spell slots:
Rogue (arcane trickster)
The arcane trickster is a rogue who has studied arcane magic like a wizard and uses spell slots in the normal way. However, unlike a caster, they don't need to prepare their spells before casting them.
Here is the Arcane Trickster's spell slot table:
The Wizard uses spell slots similar to the other classes. However, they have a feature calledFont of Magicwhich can help them win back slots at will which we will discuss later. Because their magic is woven into their being, a wizard knows their spells by heart and does not need to prepare.
Here is the Witcher slot table:
Warlocks are endowed with the ability to manipulate magical powers through a pact with an otherworldly being. They don't need to prepare these spells and are spontaneous casters.
To a certain extent, it's almost as if the warlock is borrowing magic from its patron. And that's why spell slots for a sorcerer don't work the same way as most other caster classes.
Here are the main differences between warlock spell slots:
- All your spell slots have the same level
- When you cast a spell, it consumes a spell slot, but is cast at the level listed under Slot Level on your chart
(e.g. you are 5th level and cast the 1st level spellDonnerwelle. You're using one of your spell slots, but since they're 3rd level slots, the spell is cast as a 3rd levelDonnerwelle. Spells cast at higher levels have greater effects.)
- You get all your spell slots back after a short or long break
- When you learn a new spell, it can be any level equal to or lower than the level of the spell slot on your chart
- All your spell slots will be restored after a short time or long rest
The Warlock Spell Chart should help explain any ongoing confusion:
Wizards work according to standard spell slot rules and must prepare spells. They have a feature that helps them restore spell slots that are namedArcane Recoverywhich we will go into more detail later.
Because their spell lists are so robust, casters must plan in advance what spells they want to cast in a day by preparing them. They can prepare a number of spells equal to their intelligence modifier + caster level.
Below is the wizard table of spell slots. For a deeper dive into Wizard Spell slots see our article –Wizard Spell Slots 5e + Spell Books Explained!
When will I get my spell slots back?
All caster classes can fill up their spell slots by taking along rest(Downtime of at least 8 hours).
However, some classes can get their slots back without sleeping in.
From level 2 you can regain some of your magical energy by sitting in meditation and communing with nature. During a brief pause, you select spent spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level equal to or less than half your druid level (round up), and neither slot can be 6th level or higher. You won't be able to use this feature again until you end a long pause.Page 68, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook 5th Edition.
UseNatural recreation, a 4th-level druid can regain up to two levels' worth of spell slots: either one 2nd-level slot or two 1st-level slots.
At level two, casters gain a class feature calledFont of MagicThis allows them to collect and spend "witch points" on a variety of effects. You start with 2 sorcery points and gain more as you level up.
On page 101 of the Players Handbook, here is how many sorcery points you need to spend to get spell slots of different tiers:
|Level des Zauberslots||spell point cost|
Due to the strange way in which their magic was imparted, Warlocks work a little differently than all other caster classes.
From the beginning, after a long time, Warlocks get all spell slots backor short break(minimum 1 hour). No requirements, just slot recovery galore!
Similar to a druid, a sorcerer can use a function calledArcane Recoveryto refill spell slots after a short pause.
The rules all aroundArcane Recoveryare almost identical toNatural recreation, except that the assistant doesn't have to take a long break before using the function again. Neato!
How do I increase my number of spell slots?
The only way to increase the number of spell slots is to level up.
Good news! You need to play more games with your friends! Oh no, more fun for you.
Would you like to be prepared for any eventuality and have a selection of backup spells to use even when your spell slots are depleted? Consider keeping a stash of items like these:
Which class has the most magic slots 5e?
Each caster class gets a different number of caster slots per caster level. See above for the full list of spell slot by level charts for each class.
The classes with the most spell slots are:
- Took place
These are also known as "Full Casters" because they all start with magic right at level one.
The classes with the next highest number of spell slots are the ones that gain magic first at 2nd level; the "half" classes:
The classes with the fewest spell slots are the ones that really only contain a pinch of magic:
- Fighter (Eldritch Knight archetype)
- Rogue (Arcane Trickster Archetype)
These are sometimes referred to as "third casters" because they gain no magic until 3rd level.
How does casting spells work on different levels?
Some spells can be cast at higher levels than their base to achieve different effects. When you do this, the level you cast the spell at is the spell slot it eats up. Suppose you boost a level 1 spell to cast it as a 3rd level spell, you would consume a 3rd level spell slot (not 1st level slots).
A spell always states in its description whether casting at a higher level is an option. Here is a classic example:
A creature you touch regains a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + your cast ability modifier. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.
At higher levels:Page 230, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook 5th Edition.
When you cast this spell with a 2nd level or higher spell slot, healing increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st level.
That's right, no more silly little spells you never use again, or overbloating four different spells just for intensities of the same effect! 5e-Casting is pretty streamlined compared to some older editions.
How do spell slots work for multiclassing?
If you're starting out with a class that doesn't have any magical caster abilities, then multiclassing into a caster means you simply use this class chart to determine caster slots. Simple!
But what if you are a wizard who wants to level up in Paladin, for example? Multiclassing with more than one caster class and spell slots gets a little vague, so let's just go straight to the Player Guide for that:
You determine your available spell slots by taking all of your bard, cleric, druid, wizard, and sorcerer levels, half your levels (round down) in the paladin and ranger classes, and one-third your levels as a fighter or rogue (rounded down), if you have the Eldritch Knight of Arcane Trickster feature. Use this total to determine your spell slots by consulting the Multiclass Spellcaster Chart.Page 164, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, 5th Edition.
So if you are a 3rd level in Cleric and multiclass with a 2nd level in Paladin you get:
3rd level + 1st level = 4th level
You use this total level to figure out how many spell slots you get.
If you have more than one spell class, this table may give you higher level spell slots than the spells you know or can prepare. You can use these slots, but only to cast your lower level spells. If a lower level spell you cast, such asburning hands, has an enhanced effect when cast through a higher level slot, you can use the enhanced effect even if you don't have any spells of that higher level.Page 164, Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook, 5th Edition.
Also, spell slots for a Spellcasting class (like Wizards) and a Pact Magic class (Warlocks) are interchangeable.
What Spells Don't Need Spell Slots?
The dictionary definition of "cantrip" is a magical spell, trick, or prank. Maybe Gygax and his crew took a little inspiration from that, because in D&D a cantrip is a kind of casual, semi-inconsequential, easy-to-cast spell. The effects of a cantrip are small, but when used creatively, it can hamper bad guys or help the party in surprising ways.
In terms of gameplay, there are a few things to know about Cantrips. You:
- Can be poured in any way
- You don't have to be prepared
- Don't use a magic slot
- Are spell level 0
The Players Handbook gives us a tasty description of why Cantrips are different from other spells.
Repeated practice has fixed the spell in the caster's mind, imbuing him with the magic he needs to produce the effect over and over again.Page 201, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, 5th Edition
So if a spell is on your list of cantrips, do it! No need to keep track of it, just spammagician handto your heart's content.
Door locked from the other side? Get a portionmagician hand. (HA! Got it?) Eating a sloppy sandwich? Don't even think about getting your hands sticky -magician handFTW!
Classes that get cantrips:
- Took place
Some spells have a special designation (tag), which means they have the ability to be cast without using a spell slot - the ritual tag.
Casting the ritual version of a spell takes 10 minutes longer than normal. It also doesn't take up a spell slot, meaning the ritual version of a spell can't be cast at a higher level.Pages 201-202, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, 5th Edition.
However, casting spells as a ritual is not available to every magic user. Your class must have itRitual castingFeature.
Classes with the Ritual Spells function:
- Took place
There is also a talent that allows you to cast a certain number of spells as a ritual:Ritualwirker. This feat grants you a ritual-only spellbook and 2 spells from a spell list of one of the classes listed above.
This feat also allows you to copy some written spells into your book to later cast as rituals, making it a lot more versatile than it first appears.
Warlock's Sinister Invocations
A few of theWeird Invocationsavailable to sorcerers indicate that they do not use a spell slot when casting.
You can throwtalk to animalsat will without consuming a spell slot.Page 110, Dungeon & Dragons Players Guide
frequently asked Questions
Can I learn more spells than my number of spell slots?
Yes, you can learn more spells than you have spell slots.
The two numbers are independent of each other. The number of spell slots determines how many times you can cast a given caster level (e.g. 3 spell slots for level 1 spells). And the number of known spells is just the total number of spells in your spell book.
Can you use two spell slots in one turn?
Yes, but only insideveryspecial circumstances.
To understand why, let's first look at what you can do in a combat round.
In battle you canmove,Perform an action, andperhapstake aBonus actionand orReaction(if specified, not only for funsies). Actions you can perform in combat are: Attack, Cast Spell, Run, Dodge, Assist, Hide, Ready, Search, and Use an Object. Also, since you only get one action per turn, you generally can't use up more than one spell slot.
"What about spells cast as a bonus action?" You may be wondering. Wizards covered this aspect in the Cast Time section of the Rules of Magic.
A spell with a bonus action is particularly fast. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided you haven't already taken a bonus action that turn. You cannot cast any other spell during the same turn except a cantrip with a cast time of 1 action.Page 202, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, 5th Edition.
And cantrips don't use spell slots. So even if you cast a cantrip in addition to a normal spellthis does not count as using two spell slots.
To my knowledge there is a way in the rules to cast more than one spell per turn: that of the fighteraction boostCapability.
From level 2 you can go beyond your normal limits for a moment. When it is your turn, you perform an additional action in addition to your regular action and a possible bonus action. Once you use this feature, you must take a short or long break before you can use it again. From 17th level, you can use it twice before a break, but only once in the same turn.Page 72, Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook 5th Edition.
A fighter with theEldritch RitterArchetype or a clever multi-class fighter/sorcerer could possibly get away with two spell slots in one turn. Otherwise you're out of luck.
Can you use 2 cantrips in one turn?
Yes. The few situations where you might cast two cantrips in one turn are:
- If you cast Class/Fighter Multiclass and theaction boostcapability
- They have a feature that grants a bonus action (like the Sorcerer'sAccelerated Spellmetamagic trait)
- PourSchillelagh(casting time 1 bonus action) and then another cantrip with a casting time of 1 action
Conclusion – Magic Slots 5e
You've had enough of one with this overview of spell slots in D&D 5eShocking gripon spell slots to get to the fun stuff - electrocute, hex, and inflame your enemies! So go ahead, light up and kick some undead loot!
And to keep track of how many spell slots you're using, I highly recommend thishand-painted spell tracker scrollon Etsy! Check out my othersHere.
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